Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
25 lbs Castle Pils
5 lbs table sugar
5 oz Czech Saaz @ 90
The OG came in at 1.076 (low efficiency still) and around 30 IBUs, I'll have to check BeerSmith for the exact number. I split the batch between two fermenters and fermented both with Wyeast VSS strains from earlier in the year. I pitched WY3739 Flanders Golden Ale (rumored to be the Gulden Draak strain) in one and WY3864 Canadian/Belgian Ale (the Unibroue strain) in the other. I pitched big starters of both at 64, where it stayed for a day or so before active fermentation began, then I let the temp free rise over the next few days to the low 70s, then turned on the aquarium heaters and slowly ramped up until the heaters were maxed out at around 80. I kept them there for the next 2 weeks or so (about 3 weeks at high temps total), then turned the heaters off and let them rest for another week at cellar temp, which is around 63 right now.
The Flanders Golden finished at 1.002, making the ABV 9.6%. It tasted dry (duh), but the alcohol was very obvious. I tasted and smelled some of the fruity esters and a bit of spicy phenols, but because the sample was warm and uncarbonated, this tasted more like a white wine than a beer. The alcohol, although it's not hot fusel alcohols, is too much in the front, so I decided that this one is going to stay in secondary at cellar temps for a while to round out a bit.
The Unibroue finished at 1.005, making the ABV 9.3% The sample was delicious already. Pear and apple aroma and flavor, a little bitterness to back it up, a little bready malt, delicious. Alcohol is present, which I expect in a 9% beer, but the other stuff isn't overwhelmed. This is getting kegged up in the next couple of days. Hopefully I've got enough tubing and fittings laying around so that I can use my other regulator and carb this up higher than my other beers.
I'm also thinking about entering some comps in the next few months. I'm really happy with my APA and Smoked Brown and want to get some feedback on my beers now that I'm building my water, controlling fermentation, and have gone AG. I'm looking at these comps in particular:
Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival
Upper Mississippi Mash Out
Great Northern BrewHaha
Durango, CO Ska Brewing Pro/AM
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Right now I've got a Saison from the AHA Big Brew that I split with my friend Ryan from the RAZE homebrew club. I think I posted the Saison recipe already. I fermented this with WLP565, but had to finish it with US-05 because I couldn't get it below 1.016. After pitching the US-05 it dropped to 1.012. I was worried that it would finish too sweet but it still tastes fairly dry. It's been in the keg a couple of weeks now and it's coming around. Appearance wise it's straw colored, a little cloudy, and has a nice fluffy white head that sticks around for a while and leaves nice lacing. Aroma is yeast and mild pepper and fruit. It has a nice light body, despite the almost 6% ABV, nicely balanced bitterness, and a good mix of fruit and spice. Overall, pretty tasty, but I like Ryan's version a little better that he fermented with the French Saison strain from Wyeast.
I also kegged half of the 10 gallon batch of Hoppin Mad IPA that I brewed on Memorial Day. This beer is fresh, hoppy, and awesome! Here's the recipe for a 10 gallon batch:
- 1 lb C60
- .5 lb C120
- .5 lb Vienna
- 13 lbs Briess Golden Light DME
- 1 lb sugar
- 1.5 oz Warror at 60
- .5 oz Warrior/1 oz Simcoe/1 oz Amarillo at 15
- 1.5 oz Simcoe/1.5 oz Amarillo at 5
- 1.5 oz Simcoe/1.5 oz Amarillo at flameout
- .5 oz Simcoe/.5 oz Amarillo keghop
I brewed 10 gallons of Patersbier on Thursday morning that is now bubbling over thanks to the healthy repitch of Wyeast 3787 that I harvested from the cake of the first version of this beer. That brings my 2009 total to 70 gallons so far, which will hit 80 when I brew 10 gallons of APA with a mix of Centennial and Cascade sometime next week.
I also got the chance on Tuesday to help Tod Fyten of Mantorville Brewing Company brew a batch of Stagecoach Amber Ale. I met Tod when RAZE toured his brewery a couple of months ago. He mentioned increasing production over the summer and I volunteered to help, which I'm hoping to do once a week for the rest of the summer if we can get our schedules to match. Tod's a cool guy with many years of experience in the craft brewing industry and tons of connections, so listening to his stories was a good time, and it was really interesting to see the differences and similarities between the commercial and the homebrew process. There's definitely some homebrewer's ingenuity happening there. Plus, seeing 7 or 8 sacks of malt in a mash tun that wasn't even half full, 128(?) gallons of beer in the kettle, and giant bags of hops in the freezer was a pretty cool experience and definitely gave me the itch. Ten gallons just doesn't seem big enough now!
Monday, May 25, 2009
- 1 lb Caramel 60
- .5 lb Caramel 120
- .5 lb Vienna
- 13 lbs DME
- 1 lb cane sugar
- 1.5 oz Warrior (60 min)
- .5 oz Warrior (15 min)
- 1 oz Simcoe (15 min)
- 1 oz Amarillo (15 min)
- 1.5 oz Simcoe (5 min)
- 1.5 oz Amarillo (5 min)
- 1.5 oz Simcoe (flameout)
- 1.5 oz Amarillo (flameout)
- 1 oz Simcoe (dryhop)
- 1 oz Amarillo (dryhop)
Monday, April 13, 2009
- On Friday I cleaned and sanitized 2 kegs, kegged my Patersbier, harvested the yeast from the Patersbier for a tripel I'll brew sometime, and built a 50 foot immersion chiller for less than 50 bucks. Copper has gotten really cheap!
- I spent Saturday and Sunday putting up the new hop towers, transplanting my Cascade, Centennial, and Zeus, and planting my new Saaz and Horizon rhizomes. I used PVC for the towers, one tower per plant. I sank a 5 foot section of 2 inch PVC into the ground, then put a 10 foot 1.5 inch pipe inside the 2 incher. That gave me 7 feet above ground, so I added another 5 feet to get a total of 12. Not super high, but good enough. It does sway a little, but hopefully they'll stay standing in the wind. I went with the individual towers because I thought this would be the easiest way to keep the different varieties separate.
- On Monday morning I brewed my first 10 gallon batch, an APA. Getting 12 gallons of wort to boil didn't take as long as anticipated, and I chilled to 52 in 25 minutes with my new ugly chiller (a little too cold!), but siphoning was a pain. My burner stand isn't high enough to get a good siphon going so the large amount of pellet and whole hops kept stopping the siphon. I'm going to get some concrete blocks to elevate my rig a little for next time. I'm also looking into installing a ball valve, pickup tube, and thermometer. Ten gallons took me about 4 and a half hours from dragging out my gear to putting everything away, but the siphoning and racking to primary took a half hour!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
- Kicked the Oatmeal Stout keg. Overall this was a nice beer. Good roasted barley character, a little toasted flavor, and a nice and smooth mouthfeel. May have been just a bit too bitter, so I'll probably use a little less at 60 minutes. While I enjoyed drinking this beer, I got a little sick of it by the end. Not a real session beer.
- Brewed the Double IPA with almost 2 ounces of Warrior at 60 to bitter. I split 2 ounces of Simcoe and 2 ounces of Summit into three piles and added each pile at 15, 5, and flameout. I was going to use the yeast cake from the VSS Imperial Blend but the starter beer I brewed and attempted to FWH for the first time, did it wrong, and mistreated the yeast somehow so it tasted too estery. I just pitched 2 packets of US05 instead. This beer did finish too sweet, so next time I'll use more sugar instead of malt to get it dryer, but it tasted drier than it measured. At 10% ABV and 125 IBUs, this beer is really deceiving and dangerously drinkable.
- Brewed a Patersbier with Wyeast 3787 and all Saaz hops. I'm hoping to use the yeast cake for a tripel in a month or so.
- I have converted my keg into a kettle, but I still need to clean it up and do a test run. I'm not real confident in how fast I'll be able to boil with my current burner. I think that I'll also probably need to build a new immersion chiller for 10 gallon batches, which reminds me that I need to do that soon since I'm having a Big Brew Day club event and was going to split a batch of Saison with a friend. I'm thinking about giving the Brew in a Bag all grain method a try this summer once I finish the upgrade.
- Last Saturday the RAZE club toured the Mantorville Brewing Company. The owner, Tod Fyten, started as a homebrewer and gave us the full on beer geek version of the tour. It was awesome! He really had a lot of insight into the history of beer and brewing, especially in Minnesota, and also gave us a detailed talk of his brewing process. We finished it off with some samples of his Maple Ale, Blonde, and Smoked Porter. I got a growler of the Smoked Porter and had no problem finishing it.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
RAZE meeting tomorrow night, woot! Lots to talk about too, upcoming brewery tours of Mantorville Brewing Company and Pearl Street Brewery, plan for the hopgrowing season, and figure out what we're doing for Big Brew Day. We've got more members trickling in, which is awesome since it's always good to talk to other brewers and beer geeks like myself. I must admit I'm also stoked that I'll be able to drink Hopslam on tap! I'm still trying to decide if it's worth dropping 16 bucks on a 6er, when I can just about brew 5 gallons for that, not a fine DIPA of course, but still, 5 gallons.
The Hopsicle IPA is tasting mighty fine right now. I just tapped the Oatmeal Stout and am drinking my first pint right now. It's a little young, but it's got a nice roasty chocolatey flavor with a little hop bitterness in the mix too. I'm happy! Here's the Hopsicle recipe (partial mash)if you're interested:
- 3 lbs Golden Promise
- .5 lbs C60
- .25 lbs C120
- .25 Vienna
- 6 lbs Briess Pilsen DME
- 1 oz Nugget @ 60 minutes
- 1 oz Simcoe @ 15
- 1 oz Centennial @ 10
- 1 oz homegrown Cascade/Centennial/Zeus mix at 5
- 1 oz homegrown mix at flameout
- 1 oz Columbus dry hop
1.070 OG, 1.017 FG (a little high, but the bitterness balances it out), 77 IBUS, 6.9 ABV.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I'm thinking I'm going to brew an Imperial IPA again pretty soon. I've got pounds of hops in the freezer and a fresh smackpack of the Imperial Ale yeast, so it is officially on deck. Rather than screw with a starter though, I think I'm just going to brew an APA with it and save the cake. I'll probably brew that next weekend and try out my new Warrior hops and possibly first wort hopping too. Three weeks after that I should be ready to brew the Imperial and have it ready for Kristen's birthday.
So for Christmas I got a 365 days of beer page-a-day calendar. Saturday's beer was Saison Dupont. Reading that got me fired up about saisons like Ommegang's Hennepin so I adopted another resolution for the year: learn how to brew a good saison. So far it's a pretty good read. I'm thinking about brewing my first one after the APA. EDIT: Monday I picked up a 4 pack of Ommegang Hennepin, a 750 of Saison Dupont, and Surly Cynic for research.
In other brew news, Kristen actually suggested that I get a propane hot water on demand system and build a small shed of some sort with a sink and stuff so that I can have everything I need on the brew patio and not have to make so many trips in an out of the house and back and forth to the garage/basement. I love that woman. I'm thinking an inline filter might be a good idea too. Any suggestions on what I should do?
Sunday, January 4, 2009
- Ahtanum APA: Bittered this with some Nugget then added 3 ounces late in the boil (1 oz each at 10, 5, and flameout). I used the same malt profile as usual for my APA (6 pounds Pilsen DME, .5 lb Caramel 60, .5 lb Carapils), but this beer was pretty blah. The Nugget did provide a nice clean bitterness, but the Ahtanum didn't provide nearly the citrus that I expected from reading the description. It tasted and smelled more flowery to me. It was still a good beer, but didn't really do it for me. I think I'll stick to Cascade and Centennial for my APA.
- Red Hook clone: This beer turned out to not be real close to the original because there was too much roasted barley. However, I really liked this beer alot. It wasn't really a session beer, but it was a great fall or winter brew. This was probably one of the most balanced beers I've brewed so far. There was a nice roasty and smoky backbone to this one with just enough hops to balance it out. Style wise, I'm not really sure what this would be. I read the BJCP descriptions and it is really a toss up between a brown, red , or porter. I'm having a really tough time deciding whether I should brew this again next fall the same way or decrease the roasted barley presence a little.
- Jamil's Evil Twin: I am not calling this Jamil's Evil Twin anymore since it wasn't hopbursted and I didn't use the same hops, so it is more inspired by his recipe. I am calling it Big Red because that's what it is, a big, malty, hoppy red ale. I used .25 oz of Nugget to bitter and then an ounce of Simcoe and Amarillo at 10 minutes and then again at flameout. This beer is GOOD! Nice deep red in color, awesome hop flavor and aroma, and good malt flavor to back it up without being too sweet. When I brewed this I was drinking and inspired by Widmer Brrr and Lagunitas Imperial Red, and I think I hit the mark on this one. It will be brewed again.
- Hopsicle IPA: Named this one because I froze brewing it. This was a minimash with 3 pounds of Golden Promise just to see what would happen. Bittered this one with Nugget, then threw in some Simcoe, Centennial, and then the last of my hop harvest (a mix of Cascade, Centennial, and Zeus). This one will probably get dryhopped with Columbus.
- Jamil's Irish Red: Kegging this one today, haven't tried it yet. I've got high hopes though!
After increasing my brewing skills and volumes over the last year, now I'm looking forward to 2009. Here are my brew year's resolutions in no particular order:
- Brew more. I would like to be able to not buy beer anymore except for when I'm working on a recipe. I brewed over 100 gallons in 2008, hoping to do even more in 2009.
- Move up to 10 gallon batches. I'm having a tough time keeping the kegerator full and I think this will help, especially now that I am brewing tried and true recipes that I know I will like.
- Upgrade the kegerator. Hopefully by the summer I will have a chest freezer with a collar that will be capable of dispensing 4-6 different beers. Variety is good, but this might also make it easier for me to keep the kegerator full without brewing every other weekend.
Any of my huge volume of loyal readers out there have any resolutions, beer related or not?